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Sponsor wants “Don’t Say Gay” bill expanded to private schools

HB130 is an expansion of current law prohibiting teachers from leading instruction on gender identity or sexual orientation.

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House Minority Leader Anthony Daniels, D-Huntsville, attempted Wednesday to point out the hypocrisy of new “Don’t Say Gay” legislation for public schools while the state just decided private schools can get public funds without any control over their creeds or teachings.

“Let’s add all schools to this,” Daniels said.

”That would be a friendly amendment,” responded sponsor Mack Butler, R-Rainbow City.

Rep. Barbara Drummond, D-Mobile, had first raised that question when the bill, HB130, first appeared in the House Education Policy Committee, and Butler said she had made a “good point.”

Daniels clarified that he wasn’t bringing an amendment because he doesn’t agree with the bill itself. But Butler said he was still interested in pursuing the amendment on the House floor.

As lawmakers discussed the CHOOSE Act creating $7,000 tax credits for private schoolers, they emphasized that the state government wouldn’t interfere in the curriculum or creed of those schools

Overall, HB130 is an expansion of current Alabama state law prohibiting teachers from leading discussion or instruction on gender identity or sexual orientation in grades K-5. HB130 extends the law through 12th grade and removes a qualifier that only prevents the instruction when it is not age appropriate.  

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When discussing an amendment to add a ban on pride flags and gay insignias on K-12 school grounds, Butler told the committee the amendment came from a “group of moms.” This can be inferred to be “Moms for Liberty” since Butler confirmed he talked to the group about the bill before session. That amendment ultimately passed the committee.

As Democrats questioned whether there has even been an issue Republicans can point to to justify this legislation, Butler lobbed up an interaction he had recently had. 

“Just today when I was in Rep. (Mark) Gidley’s office we had a lady sharing with us about her grandson who was literally indoctrinated and became a girl, that he’s identifying as a girl—and she felt like it was the teacher that did it.”

”Man, give me a break,” Daniels said after a chuckle. “We’ll talk offline because what I want to say, there are too many cameras in here for me to say what I want to say.”

A second amendment to the bill failed that would have extended the law to Space Camp.

“I have concerns about singling out one institution when there are camps and things all over,” Collins said.

The amendment was a response to the targeting of a transgender employee at Space Camp last week, despite no clear evidence of wrongdoing and plenty of evidence of hateful, discriminatory rhetoric toward the employee.

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“When will this stop?” Drummond asked.

The bill is now ready to come before the full House of Representatives.

Jacob Holmes is a reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter. You can reach him at [email protected]

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